Window Panes and Scattered Nails | Grinnell College Undergraduate Application Essay

The sunlight collapses lazily against the windows of our tall, stately house today, yet the gracefully arching pathways and crisp white paint job hold steadfast against the lackluster attack. To some it may be a palace, while others see only a rickety shack. To me, though, this doorframe that I pass through every day, as well as the home it lends entrance to, is much more than anything that falls on this spectrum. It represents not only where I am now, but also, more importantly, how I got here.

Life wasn’t always so tranquil in our household. Our family had modest beginnings: a small three-room apartment on the shaded end of Cloverdale street. For a critically average four person family, it was slightly less than ideal, but my older sister and I both knew from a young age that what we had was better than most. We were more than content to whittle each day down to its knobby dusk at the speckled concrete playground down the street, huddled cozily together in our twin bed crammed in the closet as the last wisps of sunlight danced and teased their trailing paths out of sight each night. My parents, on the other hand, were less resigned to such a fate. Unsatisfied with our mediocrity, they took us on the short trip to Home Depot…

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